0640.30 Child Abuse Investigations

Administrative Rules Adopted by Bureaus Pursuant to Rule Making Authority (ARB)
Policy number
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0640.30, Child Abuse Investigations


  • ORS 107.705 Family Abuse Prevention Act Definitions
  • ORS 163.160 – 185 Assaults
  • ORS 163.200 – 205 Criminal Mistreatments
  • ORS 163.545, Child Neglect II
  • ORS 163.665 – 163.693 Visual Recording of Sexual Conduct of Children
  • ORS § 161.015(8), General Definitions for General Provisions
  • ORS 419B.005, Child Abuse Definitions
  • ORS 419B.015(1)b(C)
  • ORS 419B.020, Duty of Department or Law Enforcement Agency
  • ORS 419B.023, Duties of Person Conducting Investigation (also known as Karly’s Law)
  • ORS 419B.150, When Protective Custody Authorized
  • Multnomah County Child Abuse Team Protocol (Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office)
  • DIR 0640.20, Sexual Assault Kits and Sexual Assault Investigations
  • DIR 0825.00, Protection Orders and Domestic Violence Cases
  • DIR 0850.30, Juvenile Interviews, Detention, and Custody
  • DIR 0850.39, Missing, Runaway, Lost, or Disoriented Persons


  • Child: An unmarried person under 18 years of age or under 21 years of age and residing in or receiving care or services at a child-caring agency.
  • Child abuse: Oregon State law defines abuse as:
    • Any physical injury to a child by other than accidental means, including any injury that appears to be at variance with the explanation given as cause for the injury.
    • Any mental injury to a child which shall include only observable and substantial impairment of the child’s mental or psychological ability to function, caused by cruelty to the child, with due regard to the culture of the child.
    • Sexual abuse, including but not limited to rape, sodomy, sexual assault, incest, and unlawful sexual penetration.
    • Sexual exploitation of a child including but not limited to visual recording of sexual conduct of children or allowing, permitting, encouraging, or hiring a child to engage in prostitution.
    • Negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child including, but not limited to, failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care.
    • Threatened harm to a child, which means subjecting a child to a substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare.
    • Buying or selling a person under 18 years of age.
    • Permitting a person under 18 years of age to enter or remain in or upon premises where methamphetamines are being manufactured.
    • Unlawful exposure to a controlled substance or to the unlawful manufacturing of a cannabinoid extract.
  • Department of Human Services (DHS): Oregon’s principal agency responsible for overseeing a wide range of assistance programs and services, to include how and where to report child abuse. DHS offers a 24-hr service hotline where any person or mandated reporter can or must report suspected cases of abuse.
  • Family or Household Member: Spouses; former spouses; adult persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption; persons who are cohabiting or who have cohabited with each other; persons who have been involved in a sexually intimate relationship with each other within two years immediately preceding the filing by one of them of a petition to circuit court for relief; unmarried parents of a child.
  • Non-family member: Any person not listed as a family member, including neighbors, friends, teachers, other temporary child custodians and strangers.
  • Serious Physical Injury: A physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious and protected disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of function of any bodily organ.
  • Sexual Abuse: Any sexual contact, by means of touching the sexual or other intimate parts of a person or causing such person to touch the sexual or other intimate parts of the actor for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of either party, with a person who does not consent or who is incapable of consenting to a sexual act because of their age, mental status, or because they are physically helpless. Sexual abuse is considered a sexual offense punishable under Oregon State laws and include, but are limited to, rape, sodomy, unlawful penetration, sexual assault, and purchasing sex with a minor.
  • Sexual Assault Victim Advocates (SAVA): Volunteers from either a local non-profit organization specializing in serving victims of sexual assault or from the District Attorney’s office. These volunteers respond to police requests through the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) to stay with a victim through hospital evaluation and care while also providing support and advocacy as needed.
  • Shelter home: A confidential location for a child to stay as determined and arranged by the Department of Human Services (DHS), the location of which is only known by DHS, Juvenile Court or the transporting member.
  • Suspicious physical injury: As defined by Oregon State law, includes, but is not limited to, burns or scalds; extensive bruising or abrasions on any part of the body; bruising, swelling or abrasions on the head, neck or face; fractures of any bone in a child under the age of three; multiple fractures in a child of any age; dislocations, soft tissue swelling or moderate to severe cuts; loss of the ability to walk or move normally according to the child’s development ability; unconsciousness or difficulty maintaining consciousness; multiple injuries of different types; injuries causing serious or protracted disfigurement or loss or impairment of the function of any organ; and any other injury that threatens the physical well-being of a child.


1. Child abuse investigations are sensitive in nature. The Portland Police Bureau recognizes the importance of providing confidential and compassionate service in a professional manner with due care and concern for the persons affected. In all cases, protecting children shall be the highest priority.

2. As part of a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) approach, all law enforcement agencies in Oregon are required to write a police report and notify the Department of Human Services (DHS), the District Attorney’s Office, and the Child Abuse Response and Evaluation Services-Northwest (CARES-NW) on cases involving child abuse, even if the allegations are determined to be unfounded. Therefore, the Bureau collaborates with other service providers including the Department of Human Services (DHS) child protective services, school officials, and local health and mental health departments to develop specific procedures and guidelines for investigating child abuse.


1. Responding to cases of suspicious physical injury.

1.1. Members who observe a child who has suffered a suspicious physical injury shall ensure that a designated medical professional conducts a medical assessment within 48 hours. Members shall do any of the following to fulfill this requirement:

1.1.1. Contact CARES-NW via phone or email to arrange for a medical assessment, or

1.1.2. Advise the responding detective of the child’s suspicious physical injury and need for a medical assessment within 48 hours, or

1.1.3. In the absence of a responding detective, advise the DHS Hotline for child abuse of the child’s suspicious physical injury and the need for a medical assessment within 48 hours.

1.2. If the child requires emergency medical treatment or evaluation, the member shall request ambulance transportation to the nearest hospital or hospital of family choice. If the child needs non-emergency medical treatment, the member may transport the child to a medical facility, preferably with another member, if feasible.

1.2.1. Members facilitating the transportation of a child to a hospital for treatment of a serious physical injury shall immediately notify their supervisor who will contact a CAT supervisor or Detective supervisor.

2. Custody arrest.

2.1. For cases where probable cause exists for criminal mistreatment 1 or misdemeanor assault on a child physical abuse case, members shall contact Detectives or a CAT supervisor; however, if no detective is available or the CAT supervisor advises the member to handle the case, the member shall:

2.1.1. Advise the suspect of their Miranda rights; Record the suspect’s response to either waive their rights or invoke their right to remain silent. Interview the suspect if they waive their rights. Document the suspect’s statements in their police report;

3. Notifying DHS.

3.1. Members shall notify DHS of the following:

3.1.1. All suspected child abuse cases, unless the call originated from the DHS Hotline for child abuse.

3.1.2. Any time a child observes domestic violence.

3.1.3. Any time a member takes a child into protective custody.

3.1.4. Any time a member leaves a child with any person other than the child’s parent or legal guardian.

3.1.5. Any time an adult caretaker is arrested for child abuse, regardless of whether children were taken into protective custody.

4. Investigating cases of child sexual abuse.

4.1. Members shall notify the Detective Division (Detectives) Child Abuse Team (CAT) of cases where, at the time of reporting:

4.1.1. A child has been sexually assaulted within 120 hours.

4.1.2. The victim is under 14 years of age and the suspect is a non-family member.

4.1.3. The victim is under 18 years of age and the suspect is a family member.

4.2. Members who have reasonable cause to believe that a child is a victim of sexual abuse and that physical evidence of the abuse is likely to be destroyed shall seek a physical examination pursuant to Directive 0640.20, Sexual Assault Kits and Sexual Assault Investigations.

4.2.1. The responding member shall coordinate the medical treatment, physical examination, and sexual assault kit (SAK) of the child unless they are relieved of this requirement by another member or detective. The member shall document in their report the time and person who assumed responsibility of the case. In the event that a child under 12 years of age refuses an examination and the child’s parent or guardian refuses to allow medical evaluation, the member shall take the child into protective custody. Members shall contact Detectives and DHS for assistance.

4.3. Members may facilitate transportation or transport a child to the preferred children’s facility, Randall Children’s Hospital at Emanuel Medical Center. On weekdays, members shall contact a CAT supervisor to arrange an emergency examination at the CARES-NW Program at Randall Children’s Hospital.

4.4. Members shall request through the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) for a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate (SAVA) to respond to the appropriate hospital.

5. Interviewing children.

5.1. In the best interest of the children, it is preferable for all children to be interviewed by CARES-NW or a similar Child Forensic Interview Center. For reporting purposes, members shall thoroughly interview the person(s) to whom the child disclosed the abuse.

5.2. Members shall attempt to minimize the number of interviews conducted with child abuse victims.

5.3. Members not specifically trained in child interview techniques shall not interview children under the age of 10.

5.4. For cases of physical abuse, if necessary, members may interview the child (if they are able to speak) using non-leading questions.

5.5. For cases of sexual abuse:

5.5.1. Members may interview children over the age of 10, but only to the extent necessary to establish a criminal allegation.

5.5.2. Members shall not interview children who are 10 years of age or younger. These cases shall be referred to CARES-NW, the assigned DHS personnel, or a CAT detective. If a sexual crime occurred within 120 hours, a member may conduct a short interview with the child to establish if the child needs an immediate medical examination.

5.6. If the child (or other children) is at risk by a perpetrator still within the home, a member may conduct a brief interview with the child to establish the need for protective custody.

6. Photographic evidence.

6.1. Sworn members involved in a case of child abuse shall coordinate efforts with DHS workers to secure photographic evidence of abuse.

6.1.1. Pursuant to Oregon law, any person conducting a child abuse investigation who observes a child who has suffered suspicious physical injury shall immediately photograph the injuries. Anogenital injuries may only be photographed by a medical provider, but even these injuries must be photographed immediately.

6.1.2. Photographs may be obtained by: The responding member. Detectives or the investigator. The Forensic Evidence Division (FED). Requesting criminalists from the participating agency or Forensics to respond to the scene. A medical provider.

6.2. Sworn members shall ensure submitted photographs accurately represent size and scope of injuries with the use of a scale reference.

6.3. Members who photograph a child’s injuries shall upload the images into the Digital Image Management System (DIMS) in accordance with Directive 0640.02, Photography and Digital Imaging.

6.4. Members who encounter cases of child neglect shall document unhealthy environments or unsafe conditions through photographs to serve as important photographic evidence for criminal prosecution and juvenile court purposes.

7. Management of sexual exploitation photographic evidence.

7.1. Allegations of sexual exploitation involving visual recordings of sexual conduct of children have the potential to expand the investigation to a complex multi-jurisdictional investigation. Members responding to these calls shall:

7.1.1. Determine the media (printed, electronic, film, video tape, etc.) on which the visual recordings of sexual conduct of children exist.

7.1.2. Prohibit any person from further viewing or distributing the visual recordings of sexual conduct of children. This includes having any of the recordings duplicated or otherwise sent to the member’s email or cell phone.

7.1.3. Members shall inform persons who have evidence on their electronic devices (i.e., smartphones, tablets, computers) to not delete the recordings or images until they can be extracted by FED or an appropriate agency.

7.1.4. Lawfully secure items of potential evidentiary value by seizing them as evidence under a warrant, consent, or other exceptions to the warrant requirement. Extreme care should be taken when seizing computers and other electronic devices/media on which the recordings are stored to ensure the evidence is preserved.

7.1.5. Interview and obtain clear and detailed statements from witnesses who observed the recordings regarding the sexual conduct depicted in the visual recordings.

7.1.6. Notify the CAT supervisor and advise them of the circumstances in order to determine whether or not a detective will respond to coordinate the investigation.

8. Protective custody and Working with DHS.

8.1. Members shall follow Directive 0850.30, Juvenile Interviews, Detention, and Custody for guidance on protective custody.

8.2. If a member intervenes and relocates a child (i.e., moves them to or from a shelter care, writes a medical hold, or places them with a relative or friend), they shall do the following:

8.2.1. Write General Offense (GO) and Arrest Booking reports; and

8.2.2. Notify the DHS Hotline for child abuse (1-855-503-7233).

8.3. Peace officers, counselors, and DHS employees have statutory authority to take protective custody of children in the circumstances outlined in ORS 419B.150.

8.3.1. If a DHS social worker is present at the location of the call, the member may allow the representative to take custody of the child. In other circumstances, the member shall transport the child to a confidential destination as directed by DHS or the Juvenile Intake Unit.

8.4. The responding member is responsible for the criminal investigation even when a DHS worker is present.

9. Report writing.

9.1. Members shall write a police report for the following:

9.1.1. All cases of reported physical or sexual child abuse of a child, even if the allegations appear unfounded.

9.1.2. When they are dispatched to cover DHS. If multiple members respond to assist DHS, only one police report is necessary.

9.1.3. When a member changes a child’s location (i.e., shelter care, medical hold, custody transfer, or placed with a relative, friend, or DHS).

9.1.4. An adult reporting an offense that occurred when they were a child, regardless of how much time has elapsed.

9.2. Reports shall include:

9.2.1. The date and time the member notified DHS of the case.

9.2.2. A description of all injuries, no matter how minor.

9.2.3. Details of injury such as the location on the child’s body; size, shape, and color; and the object that caused the injury, if known.

9.3. Reports shall not include:

9.3.1. The location of any shelter home. This is confidential information and may only be obtained from DHS.

9.4. Incidents of child sexual abuse may be coordinated between DHS and the Bureau’s Operations Support Unit (OSU). However, OSU may take the report only under the following conditions:

9.4.1. The child is currently safe and away from the perpetrator and the incident is being reported 120 hours after occurrence.

9.4.2. The caller is reluctant to make a direct report to a uniform member.

9.4.3. The caller is out of the area and their local law enforcement agency will not take a courtesy report regarding an incident that occurred within Portland.

10. Supervisor Responsibilities.

10.1. Supervisors shall review and/or monitor child abuse investigations for completeness by ensuring that the following are conducted:

10.1.1. Verifying notification to DHS (required for protective custody or suspected child abuse initially discovered by members).

10.1.2. Verifying written reports for all child abuse calls, including those unfounded.

10.1.3. If a suspect is arrested, ensuring reports and photographs are forwarded to CAT Detectives as soon as practical.

10.1.4. Ensuring notification of a CAT supervisor if a child is sexually assaulted within 120 hours, or seriously injured and requires hospitalization.

11. Detectives Responsibilities.

11.1. When Detectives are unable to respond and investigate, Detectives shall provide advice in response to members’ questions and inquiries.

11.2. CAT will maintain a 24-hr on-call supervisor who shall provide immediate assistance and advice on child victim cases. CAT may respond after hours and on weekends upon approval from a CAT supervisor.

11.3. A CAT Detective may be requested and assigned when the victim(s) are currently under 18 years of age and the perpetrator is a family member who is taken into custody for Rape I, Sodomy I, Sex Abuse I, or Unlawful Sexual Penetration I and II.

11.4. Detectives may respond to the appropriate hospital when:

11.4.1. A child has been sexually assaulted within the last 120 hours and there is likelihood of obtaining evidence through a SAK.

11.4.2. A child is hospitalized due to a suspicious serious physical injury.

11.5. CAT shall receive and review copies of all child abuse reports. A CAT supervisor may staff such reports with the DA and/or DHS representatives of the MDT in order to determine whether to assign a case for investigative follow-up or to refer the matter to DHS.

12. Records Division Responsibilities.

12.1. Records Division shall provide copies of all child abuse reports, founded and unfounded, to DHS

Effective: 12/29/2022

Next Review: 12/29/2024

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